Tiffany buys luxury handbag label Lambertson Truex.

Luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. has bought 10-year-old upscale handbag brand Lambertson Truex and hired its designer duo to help the company explore the possibility of expanding into handbag and leather accessories.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Shares of Tiffany fell 2.9% Friday to close at $28.10.

The key point of the transaction was Tiffany’s (TIF 28.10, -0.84, -2.9%) ability to hire the label’s designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex. Company spokesman Mark Aaron said hiring the designers was the “real catalyst” to the company’s decision to buy the bankrupt label.

The designers will explore the “development of a collection of handbag and leather accessories to complement” Tiffany’s existing assortment, which includes less than 1% of its sales in its own namesake line of handbags and accessories, Aaron said.

“They are coming in to explore the development and whether it’s feasible for us to launch a large collection of handbags,” Aaron said. “They are both well known and admired in the industry. It makes sense for us to hire expertise. We’ve always kept our options open.”

Aaron said it’s too early to conjecture whether any possible handbag collection will be under the Lambertson Truex label or Tiffany brand. While most of its business is in jewelry, the company known for packaging in its jewelry and other items in a blue box also has reached in other product categories, such as a licensed line of sunglasses.

Lambertson Truex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March after luxury shoppers across the board lowered discretionary spending. Its owner, Samsonite, put the brand up for sale in December, according to an article in trade paper Women’s Wear Daily.

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Posted on May 2, 2009, in M&A and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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